CHIANG RAI – After Thailand was found to be the third among countries with the highest number of road fatalities, health officials are joining forces to improve assistance for road accident victims.
According to Director General of the Department of Disease Control Dr. Pornthep Siriwanarangsan, the Bureau of Epidemiology has recently hosted a workshop aimed at improving health personnel and emergency staff across Thailand to be more capable of rescuing those injured on the road, which would in turn increase the survival rate.
The workshop was held following a report that road accidents are one of the top causes of death among Thais of all age groups and that Thailand is the country with the third highest road fatality rate in the world.
Dr. Pornthep said an efficient system for data collection should be developed as records on road injuries in each area of the country will be used by the Ministry of Public Health in drawing up and carrying out an effective prevention and rescue program.
Around 200 people participating in the workshop were hospital staff and representatives from various health organizations across the country.
The Thailand Accident Research Centre (TARC) recently conducted a study into accidents on Thai roads over the past 20 years.
Kunnawee Kanitpong, who headed the research, said that statistics for 1993-2011 road accidents and fatalities gathered by two agencies – the National Police Office and the Public Health Ministry – varied significantly
Prommin Kantiya, director of the Accident Prevention Network, said Thailand lacked a single systematic process to gather such information.
He said police statistics only covered cases in which victims had died on the same day as their accidents, while the Public Health Ministry collects follow-up information for another 30 days and therefore records a much higher number of road-accident fatalities.
However, the number of road deaths recorded by the Health Ministry is still lower than that gathered by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Last month the WHO reported that up to 26,000 people are killed in road accidents every year in Thailand, which places the country as sixth-highest in the world for road fatalities.
The TARC research indicates that integration of relevant agencies is necessary to gain a true reflection of trends in road use and the toll that road accidents take, said Kunnawee.
The research study, the fruit of almost a year’s work, will be forwarded to the Road Safety Centre and published in a book this year.